Saturday, June 29, 2013


Just a couple weeks ago Ben suggested he wanted to take more responsibility for managing his diabetes.  His hope is that soon he will be able to do things without needing a nurse or Jeff and me by his side.  He decided that he could help by remembering on his own to check his BG and bolus before he eats.  We all agreed that was a great first step.

At the time I thought this would be a simple first step, a no-brainer really.  It has been two weeks since Ben made this commitment, and so far I have NOT been able to shut my mouth, bite my tongue, and stop nagging.
The thing is, I am usually a fairly laid back person.  I like to describe myself like Julia Roberts described her character, Vivian, Pretty Woman.  "I am kind of a fly by the seat of my pants gal." But that's not really true anymore.  Living with diabetes has a way of changing you (and your brain.)
When I wake up in the morning, before I am even out of the bed, I first look at the clock and think, "What was Ben's number last night?  Should I check him right now or do I have time to take a shower first?"  Eventually, we make it downstairs for breakfast.  I grab a cup of coffee and then start my morning diabetes worrying, "What is for breakfast and how many carbs is it?  Do we need to change Ben's pump set?  What should we pack for snacks today?  Where is his diabetes bag?  Is everything we need in it: test strips, glucose tabs, juice boxes, protein bars, glucagon?"
Now all that worry happened in just the first hour of my morning.  The rest of the day continues the same way.  These diabetes worries pepper my thoughts ALL DAY long. 
Then at the end of the day, before I get in bed to sleep, I check Ben's BG again (likely the 10th check of the day) and decide if his number is good enough for me to sleep for a few hours before I get up and check again at 2:00am.
I bet if a researcher were to perform a brain scan of a T1 parent they would easily find the worry center of the brain because it would randomly light up every few minutes.  We have been doing this for almost 4 years now and I think this constant worrying and nagging Ben has overdeveloped my worry center, or what I like to call, my diabetes brain! 
With all these random diabetes thoughts flashing in my head all day, I am finding it impossible to give Ben the time and space he needs to remember to check his BG and bolus on his own.
Before Ben even has a chance to pull out his test kit before a meal, either Jeff or I have placed it on the table.
Before Ben can take out a test strip and prick his finger, we have already asked him, "What is your number?"
Sadly, I have come to realize we are sabotaging Ben.  We need to give Ben the room to make mistakes, learn and develop his own diabetes brain.  Which sounds simple enough, but to do that I am going to have to figure out how to shut my diabetes brain off (or at least put it on pause)!

Now to do this I am going to need a plan.  So I came up with a quick list of things I can do to stop me from jumping in too quick to help Ben:
I can yell “SHUT UP!” (in my head of course)
Bite my lip (which likely will lead to a swollen fat lip)
Pace (this option seems a whole lot less painful then the lip biting)
Distract myself by worrying about what Ben's brothers are up to (they are both teenagers now so this might be my wisest option)
If I can do this, learn to pause my diabetes brain, maybe someday soon, Ben can earn the independence he craves.  And maybe someday, my diabetes brain will chill out ... and I can be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-kinda-gal again.


  1. It's sooo hard! Mostly I don't have the patience. My brain would have already worked through the meal and determined if a 2 hr check is needed and they are still lolligaggin' around looking for their meter. My older is almost 17 (gulp) and I just have not had a choice - she is everywhere except home and she is finding her own way to manage. As it should be.

    1. Maybe I am getting ahead of myself anyway ... Ben is only 10 ... I will only be the one in control for a few more years ... Thanks